Sen. Scott Sifton Requests Explanation for Nearly 57,000 Missouri Children Losing State Health Coverage

State’s explanation that 17,000 new jobs caused 71,000 Missourians to lose coverage doesn’t add up, Senator says

JEFFERSON CITY – State Sen. Scott Sifton, D–Affton, today sent a letter to the Director of the MO HealthNet Division, the state agency that administers Missouri’s Medicaid program, asking a series of questions regarding the dramatic number of Missourians who have lost their Medicaid coverage in the past year.

In December of 2018, 906,003 Missourians were enrolled in Medicaid, a decrease of more than 71,000 enrollees from the 977,531 Missourians enrolled the previous January. According to Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, as reported by Kaiser Health News, nearly 57,000 of those who lost coverage were children.

“The reasons given by the state for taking health care away from 57,000 children do not add up. It is unlikely that 17,000 people getting jobs would result in 71,000 people losing Medicaid coverage. In the past, Missouri has seen far greater drops in its unemployment rate without seeing tens of thousands of people –most of whom are children – losing their health care coverage,” Sen. Sifton said. “The state should provide answers to ensure that no one – no child – was cut from Medicaid simply because of red tape.”

While most other states have experienced a less than two percent decrease in the number of Medicaid participants, Missouri saw a drop of at least seven percent. As changes in Missouri’s unemployment rate do not seem to account for the sudden drop, it raises serious questions.